Dick Hall reminds his fellow Republicans that Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, two of the party’s 20th century presidential icons, were strong advocates of levying necessary taxes to build the nation’s magnificent interstate highway system.
But the Central District transportation commissioner is having a hard time convincing the state’s current GOP leadership that without some $400 million in new revenue, Mississippi is in danger of losing its prized 1600 mile highway corridor system constructed nearly 30 years ago.
“If we don’t get the money to repair and maintain our four-lane corridor system, people will soon be driving on gravel roads again,” declared Hall, who is very likely Mississippi’s longest serving Republican in state elective office.
As Allied Supreme Commander in Europe during World War II, Eisenhower had marveled at Germany’s autobahn highways. On becoming U.S. president in 1954 he made his top priority construction of a highway system linking all parts of this country. He knew it would cost money, lots of money, and he asked Americans to pay taxes for the privilege of driving on these new safe, limited-access highways.